Raising Your Anaerobic Threshold
If sport and fitness are some of your interests, the term ‘anaerobic threshold’ should be familiar. Athletes and coaches alike frequently use it during training sessions to describe exercise intensity.
We’ll look at what it is, what affects it, how and why to raise it.
Anaerobic threshold refers to the point where the body converts from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism (basically to prevent injury).
During aerobic metabolism, oxygen from the lungs is burnt , releasing carbon dioxide, which is then expelled by the lungs. Most of the energy that the body uses during daily activities is obtained through this aerobic pathway.
Anaerobic metabolism starts when the default aerobic pathways are overwhelmed by increased energy demands, at which point the anaerobic threshold is reached. Lactic acid starts to accumulate in the muscles as a by-product of the lactate cycle, which provides the excess energy required by burning existing stored sugars. Exercises to lose weight will be more effective once you understand how your body works.
Lactic acid will accumulate up to 80 to 90 percent of maximum heart rate at anaerobic threshold. At this point, the body feels distressed, muscles cramp and there’s grasping for more air (fast breathing).
What affects anaerobic threshold?
Any thing that ‘pushes the body’ will affect anaerobic threshold, for instance training. In fact we can condition our systems to become more efficient during aerobic metabolism phase so that the body can endure before the anaerobic processes start pumping lactic acid (raising anaerobic threshold).
How to raise anaerobic threshold
Improving your aerobic efficiency will increase your anaerobic threshold in turn. Athletes and sportsmen do this all the time during their endurance training sessions.
Most exercises will have an effect on your anaerobic threshold if sustained. Things like walking, swimming, jogging can elevate your anaerobic threshold if done consistently. If you’ve generally been inactive, you will reach your anaerobic threshold faster. The more you train, the more the body learns to endure.
Endurance training is excellent too at raising your anaerobic threshold. It is an integral part of athletes’ and other sportsmen’s workout regimen. Endurance training particularly develops your energy systems to reach their optimal levels. Types of exercises for endurance training include: weight training, long distance running, running on hills and circuit training.
Another way you can raise your anaerobic threshold is through interval training. It’s actually one of the best ways to go past your anaerobic threshold as it greatly improves the body’s ability to store energy. It involves short, intense bursts of exercise that slightly go over what your body can take.
A good example of an interval burst is when jogging moderately on the treadmill, then adjusting the speed to a fast run of about 30 seconds before slowing it down again. This lets the body recover and approach the anaerobic threshold once more. These intervals are done 3 to 5 times in a single routine. You can experiment with different variations of endurance training that suit your body.
How often you train to raise your anaerobic threshold varies from person to person and may also depend on other factors like condition of your body, frequency of your exercises, training year you are in and your age.